With the season kicking off and all prospects being assigned to their starting teams, it's time for the first 2014 version of Reds Top Prospects.
1. Robert Stephenson RHP AA - Only question left seems to be whether he'll make his Cincinnati debut in September 2014 or April 2015. Should be in Louisville by the ASB.
2. Phil Ervin OF A - Would like to see him move quickly and get to Bakersfield by Memorial Day. Inconspicuous start so far in Dayton.
3. Jesse Winker OF A+ - This could be his breakout year. Hopefully playing alongside Ervin will allow them to push each other.
4. Yorman Rodriguez OF AA - Also could have a breakout year, after having a breakout second half last year. Should be in Louisville by the ASB and Cincy sometime in 2015- possibly even starting in LF.
5. Ben Lively RHP A+ - The Cingrani comparisons are good with regards to how quick he can move through the system. Suprised he didn't start in Pensacola and would hope to see him there shortly. May even finish 2014 in Louisville if he continues to thrive.
6. Michael Lorenzen RHP AA - Will be interesting to see how he fares as a starter in Pensacola.
7. David Holmberg LHP AAA - Good BOR depth for the big club, not sure if he'll ever get a fair chance to become a mainstay in the Cincy rotation with Stephenson and Lively's hoofbeats behind him.
8. Nick Travieso RHP A - Would like to see him pitch this year to justify his draft position and believe he might be able to do it. Needs to strikeout more hitters, especially if he's going to play all year in Dayton.
9. Tucker Barnhart C AAA/MLB - Debated whether to keep him on as he is temporarily with the big club until Mez gets back. Will eventually replace Pena and be a tandem with Mez for years to come, beginning next year.
10. Seth Mejias-Brean 3B A+ - He should mash in Bakersfield if he is real. If he's not, he'll stay there all year. With Vidal switching to the dish, the path is clear for SMB to elevate.
11. Jon Moscot RHP AA - Would like to see more of him. Ranked here mostly off of the word of others.
12. Carlos Contreras RHP AA - Starter or reliever? Either way he should have an impact in Cincinnati within the next couple years.
13. Junior Arias CF A+ - Another breakout candidate has started the year very hot. Could move to Pensacola once Yorman gets promoted.
14. Jose Ortiz C R - Disappointed he didn't start in Dayton, but he is still very young. Only catcher below AAA of note at this point, so his path is clear.
15. Kyle Waldrop OF A+ - A guy I've always liked has started the year scorching. Could also see a promotion to Pensacola once Lutz moves to Louisville.
ON THE RADAR (Honorable Mention)
Ismael Guillon LHP A - Looking dominant in his third year in Dayton. Time for a move up?
Amir Garrett LHP A - First full year of baseball will be interesting to see if he can get results.
Tanner Rahier 3B A - I expect him to hit this year, much better than he did the previous two.
Carlton Daal SS A - The only full season hope in the middle infield, could he be the next DiDi?
Chad Rogers/Daniel Corcino RHP - I don't expect either to be an impact arm at the big league level, but both could add value to the Cincy bullpen beginning next year
KEEP AN EYE ON (Too Early to Tell)
Jeremy Kivel RHP R
Mark Armstrong RHP R
Cory Thompson SS R
Kevin Franklin 3B R
Jacob Constante LHP R
As everyone knows, this system clearly lacks and needs middle infielders. Trea Turner would be a very welcome addition in the draft, as he brings almost Hamilton-like speed but can stick at SS and potentially move quickly as a college guy. I'll be keeping an eye on another of my favorites, Cory Thompson, once the Billings season begins.
I'd be surprised if anyone gets promoted in the next 3-4 weeks, but the guys to keep an eye on are Corcino, Rodriguez and Lutz going to Louisville; Lively, Arias and Waldrop going to Pensacola; Guillon, Ervin and Gelalich going to Bakersfield; and Ortiz going to Dayton.